September 16, 2011 at 04:54 PM I've been listening to the Bach cello suites recently and started to wonder at what point a violin student should start to study them. What etudes/pieces should the student have already played and what etudes would they be working on while studying the suites Another interesting question is which ASTA level would the suites be placed
The double-stop movements are, I believe, harder for vln/vla than on cello, so I'd save those for later in the study. But the prelude mvts of #1,#2, #4 are excellent for musical bow control. And the other dances, well, they are just great, and great fun.
Is there more than one transcription I use the edition by Enrico Polo, made from the Bach-Gesellschaft edition of the cello suites and published by Ricordi. (Alas, on a 2010 visit to Rome I was sad to note that Ricordi's very impressive shop at the Piazza Venezia,a frequent haunt of mine when I lived there in the mid 1970s, is now no more.) However, the edition is fine and the bowings and fingerings are helpful.
In my teaching I don't relate to grading systems such as those by ASTA or NISMA, but I'd say that if a student is ready for Kreutzer he should be techincally ready for the cello suite transcriptions. That said, the original violin repertoire is so vast and time is limited. The cello suite transcriptions - wonderful as the music is - might be better for independent exploration. A good way for students to get their feet wet with Bach would be the A minor concerto.
September 17, 2011 at 01:34 AM While it is not addressing the OP's question, it might be of interest to know that the cello suites are available as a download (free) from the Icking Archive. One can select whether they are notated as for cello, viola, or violin, and they will be suitably transposed.
September 17, 2011 at 03:16 AM The Bourree at the end of Suzuki Book 3 is transcribed from a Bach cello suite. It works very well, I don't see why any of the other cello suites shouldn't work just fine transcribed for the violin. As was said by another, all Bach is good for the violin. Janine Jansen has a recording of the keyboard inventions, it's a lovely album that also includes an excellent D-minor partita.
The D-major 6th suite was written for a 5-string cello-like instrument with a high E-string. This shows up in the high passage work necessary on today's 4-stringed instrument and in the difficult chord playing in movements such as the sarabande. A violin version I've seen of the sarabande obviously had a substantial re-write, otherwise the player would have been wandering into Ernst-land.
The other side of the coin is whether Bach's solo violin suites and sonatas transfer well to the cello. Again, mostly I think not, unless it's a simplified arrangement for student purposes, both for technical fingering reasons and for sonority and speed.
@Trevor: While I agree that the sonorities are very different and that the feel that the suites capture on cello cannot be matched on violin, there looks to be some interesting things that I might learn from them. For example, you mentioned the C minor suite. I was thinking that one could learn that single line fugue and that knowledge would be useful to apply to the fugues in the violin sonatas.
September 21, 2011 at 02:28 PM \"That said, the original violin repertoire is so vast and time is limited. The cello suite transcriptions - wonderful as the music is - might be better for independent exploration. A good way for students to get their feet wet with Bach would be the A minor concerto.\"
I studied a few of the suite movements on viola when I started playing viola as an adult (after many years as a violinist only). I found that they were great for independent study, for helping me feel more comfortable reading viola clef, for really getting me to find my way around the viola both fingering and listening, and for performing. I had some little opportunities to perform--at church, busking, at the Farmers' Market, informally for friends--and a Bach suite movement was perfect for that. I didn't have to find an accompanist or an arrangement for solo instrument.
And I'm really not aware of unaccompanied pieces of that quality, technical level, and universal appeal in the violin literature. I've found some fiddle tunes, and I've transcribed melodies out of a fake book on my own, and I've played in string groups. But I haven't really found anything like the Bach suites for solo violin. As others have said, the S&P are technically more advanced, and concertos need an accompanist. 1e1e36bf2d